This paper evaluates the potential of gabions as roadside safety barriers. Gabions have the capacity to blend into natural landscape, suggesting that they could be used as a safety barrier for low-volume road in scenic environments. In fact, gabions have already been used for this purpose in Nepal, but the impact response was not evaluated. This paper reports on numerical and experimental investigations performed on a new gabion barrier prototype. To assess the potential use as a roadside barrier, the optimal gabion unit size and mass were investigated using multibody analysis and four sets of 1:4 scaled crash tests were carried out to study the local vehicle-barrier interaction. The barrier prototype was then finalised and subjected to a TB31 crash test according to the European EN1317 standard for N1 safety barriers. The test resulted in a failure due to the rollover of the vehicle and tearing of the gabion mesh yielding a large working width. It was found that although the system potentially has the necessary mass to contain a vehicle, the barrier front face does not have the necessary stiffness and strength to contain the gabion stone filling and hence redirect the vehicle. In the EN1317 test, the gabion barrier acted as a ramp for the impacting vehicle, causing rollover.
Amato, G., O'Brien, F., Ghosh, B., & Simms, C. (2015). Gabions: evaluation of potential as low-cost roadside barriers. International Journal of Crashworthiness, 20(1), 12-26. https://doi.org/10.1080/13588265.2014.949038